NBA Summer League
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The NBA Summer League, Las Vegas Summer League or the Las Vegas NBA Summer League is a period during which NBA teams come together to try out different summer rosters instead of their regular season line-ups. Typically, there is a mix of rookies and some of the younger bench players to see how well some players work with others. Sometimes, even unsigned players are invited to play so teams can decide whether or not they want to sign the new players. The main benefit for fans, as well as the media, is to get a preview of the top rookies and how they will fit into the NBA and how they transition from college basketball to the NBA. The NBA Summer League is where many past draftees or players who no longer are on rosters try to make comebacks onto NBA rosters.
The league is one of two summer pro leagues in the United States. The other summer pro league is the Orlando Summer League (run by the Orlando Magic). Up until 2008, the Rocky Mountain Revue (run by the Utah Jazz) operated until it was cancelled in 2009 due to declining participation.
The Las Vegas Summer League played its inaugural season in 2004 on the basketball court at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with six NBA teams – Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards – playing a total of 13 games. With Warren LeGarie leading the way, the summer league had three successful summers in which participation increased to 16 teams playing more than 40 games at UNLV. In 2005, the summer league expanded to 15 teams – Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, L.A. Clippers, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings and Washington Wizards. In 2007, the NBA attached its name to the event, making it the “NBA” summer league. In 2008, the summer league expanded to 22 teams and was sponsored by EA Sports.
In NBA summer league, winning or losing matters little. The summer league gives individual players a chance to prove their skills on the court. Some of these players hope to earn a role on their respective team's roster once the regular season starts.
If someone is not currently signed, a team might just sign him for their summer league team, which will give him a chance to prove his worth and possibly be signed to a contract during the regular season. Any team can sign him after the league is over, not just the one he played for in summer league. For example, Jeremy Lin, a Harvard student, was invited to play for the Dallas Mavericks summer league team despite being undrafted earlier in the year. In the 2010 summer league, Lin performed well and was later signed by the Golden State Warriors.
- Jazz cancel 2009 Rocky Mountain Revue, KSL.com, May 1, 2009